Monday, August 4, 2014

Mariquina - Cinemalaya New Breed

Director: Milo Sogueco
With: Mylene Dizon, Ricky Davao, Bing Pimentel, Che Ramos, Barbie Forteza, Dennis Padilla

Synopsis from Cinemalaya: Unlike the former Philippine First Lady, this Imelda (Mylene Dizon, Barbie Forteza) is indifferent towards shoes. To her, they are fraught with the bittersweet nostalgia of childhood, one that was marred by a difficult relationship with her shoe-maker father, Romeo. Growing up, all of hers were handmade by him.

Mariquina is one of the impressive films in this year's festival. It's very apparent that it's well made, well written (by Jerrold Tarog of last year's Sana Dati) and a competent film to boot. But I'm not a huge fan. Although it's really commendable that a story about shoes/shoemaking was made and the story is nothing short of conflict, lessons and drama.

Shoes. Isn't it intriguing? Tarog's story is rich with creativity and imagination that he managed to incorporate shoes in a family drama that is deep enough for a film. However, for me the material lacks engaging and groundbreaking concepts to make it more remarkable. Don't get me wrong, a film doesn't always require groundbreaking scenes but Mariquina is something we can see in teleseryes slash MMK slash Magpakailanman. Like if it's an episode of MMK, I'm pretty sure its title would be 'SAPATOS' (or swelas since there's already an existing Sapatos episode :3). In brief, it's sort of nothing special.

The film has a lot of technical achievements for sure (although distracting make up :/). Outstanding screenplay, complex characters with Bing Pimentel's villainous unsung hero Tess as my favorite :), decent musical score that I really enjoyed especially the one where young Imelda was happily walking in her father's shoe factory, creditable performances by Mylene Dizon, Ricky Davao and Barbie Forteza, perfect production design and a surprise Imelda Marcos cameo. But these are not enough to rave the film.

Ricky Davao as Romeo via www.cinemalaya.org
I think it's biggest triumph is how it affected the viewers through its heartwarming lesson. It's a film that will make you think and realize about your relationships -- family relationships to be exact. Because even if the film is about shoes, its essence is really about family.


In a way, it reminds me of P.L. Travers life and her relationship with her father in Saving Mr. Banks even though Imelda and her father's relationship is actually quite different but still, both links involve buried resentments and that's probably why Mariquina didn't appeal to me immensely because like I've mentioned, it's something I've already seen and therefore, there's nothing really refreshing about it. It's worth a viewing though and I didn't feel like I wasted my money for it.